How could this happen? How, in the 21st century, in a country that is modern, educated, and relatively wealthy, could such an atrocity occur? How could anyone forget how important clean water is to the health of people, especially children. How could this have gone on so long before action was taken to warn residents of Flint, MI? How could the local government be aware of this and not do something for so long? We often think of clean water issues as a 3rd world problem, due to a lack of education, resources, or money. Yet here we are…
This CNN article sites a Genesee County Board of Commissioners October public health emergency declaration as saying that the water from the Flint water plant met all federal standards. The lead was said to be leaching from service lines or solder connections due to the corrosivity of the Flint River water.
According to this article, Michigan officials ignored EPA warnings. Previous lead poisoning incidents like that in Washington DC in 2004 were mentioned as well, so this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
There have also been questions raised in this article about the sampling practices used across the US for testing water and how it may result in artificially low lead readings.
If nothing else, maybe this crisis will make people more vigilant about making sure everyone has access to clean drinking water. It is something that we in the US have come to expect, but it is too important to take for granted.